Working in Switzerland: an open but demanding market


per Maria Roques

If Switzerland is not necessarily number one among the countries that expatriate candidates dream of, the country offers great opportunities for executives. However, one must keep in mind that the Swiss culture is very different from ours and that the job market, although very open, is extremely competitive.

Switzerland is undeniably a destination to be seriously considered by French executives. Although the job market has been disrupted by Covid, the unemployment rate is now at 3%. A situation that, it must be admitted, leaves you dreaming. 🇧🇷 We are at full employment, translates David Talerman, author of the book Working and Living in Switzerland, founder of the website It should be noted that situations are different in French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland, where the unemployment rate is even lower. A situation that has even become problematic insofar as the country does not have the human resources necessary to support its economic development, which is why it is important to recruit profiles from abroad that correspond to expectations. It should also be noted that this situation is facilitated by bilateral agreements that oblige European citizens to have a signed employment contract or a promise to work in order to obtain a work permit. Working in Switzerland for the French is therefore quite easy compared to destinations such as Canada or the United States.

A qualitative and competitive labor market

As a result, there are many opportunities in a wide variety of fields. According to Annalize von Grünigen, director of S&you and Synergie Switzerland, the opportunities for French executives are real and mainly in professions where training is somewhat scarce in the country, such as in the supply chain, quality and certain employee profiles. engineers and more particularly in aeronautics. On the Page executive side, opportunities for French executives in Switzerland are most sought after in the healthcare field, investment banking, finance, luxury and, in particular, watchmaking and jewellery. Job offers should also be taken advantage of in the production professions and more particularly in the chemical industry, and also in the e-commerce, marketing or sales professions. Within the company Witpartners, the executive functions of the health sector in Switzerland are looking for candidates, but they require a perfect knowledge of the health network in Switzerland, which is very specific. Nathalie Brodard, founder of executive search firm Brodard, confirms that there are many opportunities for French executives in Switzerland. This Swiss job market specialist works mainly in finance and banking, but also in luxury or fintech. 🇧🇷 We do not discriminate based on nationality, our role is to find the right person based on their skills and knowledge.“, However, specifies Nathalie Brodard. The needs are today in IT profiles and, in particular, in developer positions, in which French engineers are quite well positioned.

Read too: Survey “Paris, I’m leaving you” on the mobility of Île-de-France residents

Nathalie Brodard stresses, however, the need to master at least English and, if possible, German. Although there are large French communities in most large Swiss cities, the practice of these two languages ​​seems essential to occupy the vast majority of positions. This Swiss labor market expert also highlights the importance of taking into account the cost of living in the country. 🇧🇷 Salaries can sometimes make you dream, but with rent, insurance, taxes, you really have to do your math, explains Nathalie Brodard. I also recommend getting help from an accountant or tax specialist to fully understand the rest of your life. 🇧🇷

To successfully arrive in Switzerland, the most important thing is to understand how French ” that Switzerland, although it has a common language with us, is a country apart, with a very specific culture and work habits. Swiss culture is closer to Japanese culture than French culture.“, guarantees David Talerman. And the specialist in the Swiss job market specifies that, despite the many opportunities, the market remains very demanding, as companies are used to having many applications and often have to choose between excellent candidates. 🇧🇷 🇧🇷 If a company has a choice between 3 candidates and none of them suits it, it won’t take it badly, it won’t take any. Therefore, it is essential to have the most professional approach possible. The Swiss market is much more qualitative than the French market and recruiters’ expectations are different. They usually seek more information. 🇧🇷 In Switzerland, you must first try to reassure before trying to convince, reassure about your ability to hold the position, reassure about your skills, reassure about your ability to integrate as a foreigner. According to most of the experts we interviewed for this article, the job market in Switzerland is a very small universe, where everyone knows everyone else. Therefore, it is essential to prepare well for the process. From this perspective, David Talerman traditionally advises to be well informed about the sectors and companies that interest you. It is also advisable to be careful with advertisements, as recruiters often receive hundreds of applications, which puts you in a highly competitive situation where your chances can sometimes be slim, despite the quality and consistency of your career. We can never say enough, before considering a position change, whatever it may be, you must optimize your LinkedIn profile with the right keywords to make yourself visible. 🇧🇷 Of course, recruiters in Switzerland are on LinkedIn and use the platform to search for candidates.“, guarantees David Talerman.

To better prepare for your expatriation, it is also important to start a networking process. And at this point, Covid has had very positive effects because professionals, whatever their sector of activity, are used to being contacted from a distance by people they don’t necessarily know. Finally, adapt all means of communication that allow you to apply in Switzerland to the local culture and market realities. Your resume or your profiles on professional social networks must be adapted to the expectations of recruiters, which will certainly be different from the French market. Finally, as we saw above, don’t hesitate to find out about the local culture. There is a good chance that the recruiter during the first meeting will ask why you want to settle in Switzerland. Therefore, it is preferable to have solid arguments.

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